The Blue Bulls Company (BBC) has confirmed the withdrawal of Flip van der Merwe from the Barbarians squad for this coming weekend's fixture against Fiji at Twickenham.
Mr Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBC, said that they made this decision to withdraw the lock from this match based on a number of factors.
"This is a very important period of preparation for the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season and a vital stage of our squad's pre-season planning, strength and conditioning. Even more important though is the management of our players after a very long season and, as such, the heightened risk of key players getting injured can severely jeopardise our and their Super Rugby campaign."
According to Van Graan, the BBC has always, for a number of years, been clear that this period is an active rest and recovery period for their international players and that requests for matches like these need to be directed to the BBC through the South African Rugby Union (Saru).
On Saturday evening the Barbarians directly approached Van der Merwe to partake and on Sunday evening informed the BBC per SMS of the player's inclusion in the team.
The BBC then immediately informed Steven Berrick, one of the organisers of the Barbarian match, that Van der Merwe has no permission to partake in the match against Fiji.
"It was a decision based on principle and BBC policy, made in the best interest of the Vodacom Bulls team," Van Graan said.
Van Graan furthermore confirmed that the BBC earlier received a request (through Saru) to release JJ Engelbrecht to partake in this match, a request they also declined.